In 1998, Donruss revolutionized the trading card industry by introducing autographed rookie cards in the Playoff Contenders brand. Fast-forward 10 years and Donruss is at it again, this time in baseball. Donruss officials today announced its fourth and final baseball release of the year: 2008 Playoff Contenders Baseball.
Donruss previewed the Contenders cards in the highly successful Prime Cuts release, fueling speculation within the hobby that Contenders would finally be taking the baseball field for the first time.
"This is something we have kicked-around for years," said Donruss Brand Manager Ben Ecklar. "As we expand our baseball offerings and look at what brands translate well in baseball, the timing was right to finally release Contenders in baseball."
The product will feature 50 un-signed base commons cards and 100 signed rookie cards. The program will feature the first certified autographs of 19-year-old White Sox third base prospect Dayan Viciedo, who signed a four-year, $10 million deal with the club in November after defecting from Cuba last summer.
"Viciedo is a guy who could find his way to the majors sooner rather than later," said Mike Payne, part of the Donruss baseball brand team. "Even if he's two years away from the South Side, the White Sox believe in him enough that they signed him to a multi-year deal at significant dollars."
Other firsts include Yankee prospects Pat Venditte, an ambidextrous pitcher, and two-sport athlete Mike Jones, a wide receiver on the 2008 Arizona State squad; Rangers prospects Jared Bolden, an outfielder drafted in 2008, and LHP Derek Holland; Twins slugging outfield prospect Angel Morales; Dodgers prospects Pedro Baez, a third baseman, and Devaris Gordon, a shortstop; Reds shortstop Alex Buchholz, drafted by the club in the sixth round of the 2008 MLB First Year Draft; and Red Sox shortstop prospect Yamaico Navarro. Also included in the program will be 2008 first-round draft picks Buster Posey and Gordon Beckham and 2007 first-round pick Rick Porcello, among many other top prospect names.
As an added bonus, Donruss will also be including the FIRST Playoff Contenders basketball cards: Rookie Tickets of OJ Mayo, Derrick Rose and Michael Beasley.
"We couldn't have asked for three better NBA draft picks to debut Contenders basketball with," adds Ecklar.
Other program highlights include:
Legendary Rookies: Look for autographs from legendary names such as Pete Rose, Cal Ripken Jr. and Willie Mays, among others.
Round #'s: Look for combinations from this year's MLB First Year Player Draft, such as Posey/Beckham and former University of Arizona pitchers Daniel Schlereth and Ryan Perry, among other combinations.
Draft Class: Look for the top players taken in the MLB draft.
2008 Playoff Contenders is scheduled for a late-January ship date. Each five-card pack will carry a $6 SRP. For more information, visit www.donruss.com.